The Dutch East Indies, a successful Kickstarter from 2017, is a pick up and deliver naval game from designer Martin Looij and Keep Exploring Games. In Dutch East Indies, players have control of two ships, sailing around the Wild Islands, trying to trade for spices to bring back to their home. All trades have to use the resources on the ship, and the game comes with ships which physically hold coins and resource cubes. Ships have upgradable cannons, cargo space and speed, and of course players can attack each other to steal their valuable spices. Be careful, for pirates patrol the center of the board, and will attack any players passing through. The first player to take 2 of each valuable spice back home is the winner.
Keep Exploring Games has announced a Kickstarter Campaign for the first expansion to Dutch East Indies, Adventures on the High Seas. This expansion adds 6 small modules to the base game, allowing more ways to make money, collect spice, and generally cause mayhem. The home islands are no longer completely safe, and are replaced with Forts which can be attacked, but can also be upgraded. The pirates also have forts, but if a player defeats them, they can claim these bases for themselves. Once Wild Islands are cleared of trading opportunities, players can now build settlements, another source of income, but also a source of crew members, a new way to upgrade ships. Treasures and Events add some random boons and conflict to the game. Finally, Reefs are a hazard in the open sea which can cause a ship, player-owned or pirate, to become stuck and vulnerable.
The Kickstarter has options for a deluxe version, with detailed plastic ships, metal coins, wooden spices and plastic crates. The Kickstarter Campaign for Adventures on the High Seas continues through May 17, and the expansion is expected to deliver in October 2019.
On Mars is the latest game from designer, Vital Lacerda, with art by Ian O’Toole (who both worked on Lisboa and Vinhos). Players are chief astronauts for one of a number of enterprises who want to be a pioneer in the development of the biggest, most advanced colony on Mars. The game supports 1-4 players, aged 14+, and plays in 90-150 mins.
“Following the success of unmanned rover missions, the United Nations established the Department of Operations and Mars Exploration (D.O.M.E.). The first settlers arrived on Mars in the year 2037 and in the decades after establishment Mars Base Camp, private exploration companies began work on the creation of a self-sustaining colony.”[source]
The goal of the game is to contribute the most Opportunity Points (OP) to the development of the first, self-sustaining colony on Mars that is independent of any terrestrial organization. This is achieved by completing missions. After a total of three missions have been completed by a player, the game ends, and points are tallied to determine the overall winner. At first, players will be dependent on supplies from Earth and so will often travel between the Mars Space Station and the planet’s surface. Over time, activities will shift to constructing mines, power generators, water extractors, greenhouses, oxygen factories, and shelters as the colony expands. Managing the supply of water, air, power, and food will be vital to survival.
The On Mars Kickstarter campaign, run by publisher, Eagle-Gryphon Games, has already achieved 6x its funding goal with over 6700 backers, and the campaign will end on Friday, May 3rd, 2019. There is only a single pledge level to obtain the entire game which includes all stretch goals. Estimated delivery is expected in October of 2019.
Board and Dice has announced Sierra West by designer Jonny Pac Cantin, a unique game combining deck building, tableau management, worker placement, multi-use cards; in short this game is a tapestry of many interwoven moving parts. In Sierra West, 1-4 players move pioneer workers through paths in the mountains, claiming cards and actions, collecting resources in their pursuit of the american west. Prominent in setup is a large mountain made of a pyramid of overlapping facedown cards, with the top cards visible. 3 cards from the player’s hand are placed in a notched board, revealing 2 rows of icons from the bottom of the cards, representing two different paths the pioneers can traverse. Each space on the path can generate resources, allow actions or present danger. Boot actions on the path allow the movement of the caravan along the road, or the frontiersmen up the card mountain. Frontiersmen allow players to claim new cards from the top of the mountain, while the caravan gives access to special cards below the wagon trail. Additionally, players can build cabins with resources, and place their pioneers on the cabins when they are not on a trail, generally helping the rest of the workers. The game ends when the 6th special card is added to the caravan trail.
All of this sounds like a great game, but Sierra West is a flexible kit, designed to make more interesting, more variable games with the included modules. Each module changes the starting cards, rules for play, type of cabins, and action spaces. The game comes with 4 modules: Apple Hill, Boats and Banjos, Gold Rush, and Outlaws and Outposts, with more expected to release in 2020. Sierra West is expected to be released at GenCon, in August 2019.
Great news for all – Ares Games will be bringing Ludus Magnus Studio’s games to worldwide distribution with English language support. This partnership will begin with the retail edition of the huge Kickstarter success, Black Rose Wars. This mage vs mage battle royale for 2 to 4 players, designed by Marco Montanaro, features some of the highest quality miniatures in the market and is just the sort of excellent product to be paired with Ares Games’ outreach. While this new version of Black Rose Wars will be different from the one backers received, mostly to fit a better price point, it’s gameplay will remain intact.
“We love what Ludus Magnus Studio is doing– their games have amazing gameplay value and beautiful components. This young and energetic studio was very successful on Kickstarter, but their creations deserve to reach an even wider audience, and we will work together to make this possible,” said Roberto Di Meglio, Director of R&D of Ares Games.
Ares Games will also be distributing the retail version of Ludus Magnus’ current Kickstarter project, Dungeonology. Designed by Diego Fonseca and Danilo Guidi, this game flips dungeon crawling on it’s head by posing players as scholars who are studying the dungeon and it’s inhabitants rather than ransacking it. As of writing this, it has already been funded six times over proving that it’s novel concept is worth the look. If you’d like to learn more about Ludus Magnus Studio’s games, or more about this partnership, check out bothcompanies websites for all current projects, details, and updates.
Anachrony (2017) is an immensely popular (BGG #52), unique heavy worker placement game taking place in the short days before the inevitable end of the world. An asteroid impact is going to destroy the Earth, and players must collect resources preparing to evacuate. Worker placement is done with multiple types of workers with different abilities, plus workers can (and must) wear powered Exosuits to explore certain regions of the board. The most powerful tool at a players disposal, though, is… time travel. Players can give themselves resources from the future, but beware, not following through with the actual loan can cause temporal anomalies, and invoke stiff penalties.
Now the much anticipated expansion to Anachrony, Fractures of Time, is on Kickstarter from Mindclash Games and designers Richard Amann, Viktor Peter, and Dávid Turczi. Fractures adds a new area for worker placement, the Amythenia Valley, an area where humanity has learned to survive and collect the powerful Flux resource. Flux can be used to allow Exosuited workers to “blink” – essentially existing in two worker spaces at once. However the Fracture Devices used to create Flux are far from perfect, and must be maintained by the new Operator worker type, or else temporal glitches ensue. Fractures of Time also adds a 5th faction to the game, the Path of Unity, consisting of dissidents from the other 4 factions, residing in a capitol city sent back from the future. Also in the expansion are a new Exosuit type – the Paladin, and a new Solo mode, as well as a giant Infinity Box to hold everything together. The Kickstarter for Anachrony: Fractures of Time continues through May 7, and the expansion is due to ship in March 2020.
Takenoko (2011) is a delightful tile placement, set collection, and resource management game from master designer Antoine Bauza. In Takenoko, players take turns choosing actions to plant new bamboo, move the panda to eat bamboo, or move the gardener to grow the bamboo, progressing towards secret objective cards. This bamboo and panda masterpiece hit the world by storm, winning multiple awards, including the As d’Or and Golden Geek Awards, and is currently sitting pretty on BGG at #235. So what could make this beloved classic game even better – GIANT TAKENOKO.
In Takenoko, the players will cultivate land plots, irrigate them, and grow one of the three species of bamboo (Green, Yellow, and Pink) with the help of the Imperial gardener to maintain this bamboo garden. They will have to bear with the immoderate hunger of this sacred animal for the juicy and tender bamboo. The player who manages his land plots best, growing the most bamboo while feeding the delicate appetite of the panda, will win the game.
Once a coveted limited edition, a new Kickstarter Campaign for Takenoko Giant has begun from Surfin’ Meeple, offering Brobdingnagian versions of both the original Takenoko and the Takenoko: Chibis Expansion. This Giant edition offers new hand painted figurines for the Panda and the Gardener, each over 100mm tall, as well as huge wooden bamboo segments. Also included in the wooden storage box are wooden action markers, larger hex tiles, a massive wooden die, larger linen objective cards, and inserts to keep everything organized. The Kickstarter for Takenoko Giant continues through May 5, and the game is expected to deliver in January 2020.
Space Base is a critically acclaimed engine building, dice-economics game from designer John D. Clair and publisher AEG, which took the clever “roll dice – earn money – buy cards” pattern from Machi Koro (2012), and others, and brought it to the next level. The first expansion for Space Base, The Emergence of Shy Pluto, was only released last week, and already a second expansion and storage kit has been announced. Space Base: Command Station, coming later this year, will expand the maximum player count from it original 5 up to 7. The expansion, which comes in a box to hold everything, will include 2 more boards, all necessary starting cards and cubes. Command Station will also include 14 “pre-deployed” ship cards to help balance the larger player counts. Look for Space Base: Command Station at your FLGS this August.
Fraud: The Game of White Collar Crime is a new satirical take-that card game, currently on Kickstarter, from designer Pete M Newman and featuring art from long time MAD magazine contributor and Beavis and Butthead comic artist, Rick Parker. In Fraud, 2-6 players try to hide away as much money cards in offshore accounts as possible, while attacking other players with Fraud Cards. Players can defend against these indictments using Defense Cards. After two indictments, players need to make a “perp walk” around the table, while the others heckle them mercilessly. The first player to bank $150 million before receiving 3 indictments wins the game. Fraud uses similar mechanisms to the classic card game Mille Bornes, scoring points while attacking opponents and defending against their own disasters. The Kickstarter Campaign for Fraud: The Game of White Collar Crime continues through April 25, and the game is expected to deliver in September 2019. For more details, check out the web site for Fraud here.
Plaid Hat Games has announced Battlelands, a fast and furious card game for 3-5 players designed by Jerry Hawthorne (Mice & Mystics) and Andrea Mezzotero (Crystal Clans). In Battlelands, players send fighters to seize key locations, collect resources, or recruit more fighters. There are five factions to play – Junkers, Scaled Ones, Bighted, Hoodies, and the Nocturne – each with their own special abilities. The player who secures enough resources is the winner. Like Mice and Mystics, Battlelands features factions made up of mice, rats, lizards and moles, but the game is set in a modern world in which the human beings have vanished. This will be the same world used in another game by Jerry Hawthorn coming out later this year, Aftermath. Little is known about Aftermath at this time other than it will be an Adventure Book game like Mice and Mystics but set in a modern post-human world.
Look for Battlelands
at your friendly local game store in July, 2019.